20 TV Series Reboots That Didn't Live Up to the Original 

Martha Sorren | Nov 21, 2019 TV
20 TV Series Reboots That Didn't Live Up to the Original 
Image: Fox

Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, Brian Austin Green, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris
Fox

These days, it seems like everything is getting rebooted. Childhood classics, '90s favorites -- even beloved holiday movies -- are getting second chances to make a first impression. Usually, fans are so excited to hear that a show or movie they love is coming back. But, some TV reboots didn't succeed as much as others. That's a given when there's so many revivals these days. They can't all be winners.

Of course, there are always going to be fans who do love the new take on a series simply because they loved the original. For example, Fuller House usually hits the bottom of critics' lists, but fans kept the Full House revival going for five seasons on Netflix. However, sometimes, not even fans can keep a doomed reboot alive.

Most of these failed TV remakes got canned for low ratings. However, some never got picked up to air in the first place, because networks weren't excited enough about the pilot. Others ran into production issues or addressed sensitive subject matters and got a negative reaction. Most of them ended after just one season, and others got pulled just a handful of episodes in.

And yet, many of these canceled reboots are the subject of continued remake conversations. These days, TV shows never die. There's always potential to be brought back years later, or to be picked up by another network after one turns a show away. Because reboots are usually made of once-popular shows, networks often think one more try can get back to that gold of the original. So if one is partial to a show on this failed reboots list, never fear. Give it a couple of years and it'll probably circle back into another revival attempt. That's just the way these things work.

Here's a look at some TV reboots that didn't live up to the original.

  • 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'

    1

    A decade after the original Gilmore Girls series ended, Netflix revived the show for four additional episodes. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life reunited the entire original cast, and fans were super excited for its premiere. However, the revival fell flat with many fans feeling that the new ending was a betrayal to the original characters. 

    No plans were made for any future Year in a Life seasons.

  • 'BH90210'

    2

    Despite its cliffhanger ending, Fox decided not to bring the Beverly Hills, 90210 revival back for a second season. The show had low ratings after the premiere and had already suffered the loss of a major cast member when Luke Perry died before filming began. 

    The reboot attempt aired for six episodes.

  • 'Heathers'

    3

    The beloved '80s movie Heathers was rebooted as a TV show in 2018, and it was immediately plagued by problems. According to Entertainment Weekly, the premiere was delayed and then canceled after the Parkland, Florida, shooting because some of the episodes contained similarly violent imagery. 

    When it finally did premiere, another episode was pulled from the lineup after a shooting in Pittsburgh. The show was also condensed from 10 episodes to nine to make adjustments to the finale, which featured a school being blown up. 

    There are no plans for a second season.

  • 'Murphy Brown'

    4
    Candice Bergen in Murphy Brown
    David M. Russell/CBS via Getty Images

    Murphy Brown originally ran from 1988 to 1998, and CBS revived it in 2018. Candice Bergen reprised her role as the titular investigative journalist, but the series didn't perform well with viewers the second time around. It was canceled after a single 13-episode season.

  • '24: Legacy'

    5

    24: Legacy was a spin-off of the popular Kiefer Sutherland drama 24. The original ran for nine seasons, but the reboot only made it one. Its 2017 premiere episode landed the coveted post-Super Bowl slot, which is usually a boon for shows. However, it had the lowest tune-in rate of a post-Super Bowl TV show since 2003. After 12 episodes, it was canceled.

  • 'The IT Crowd'

    6

    The British version of the IT Crowd, a show about an IT department, ran for four seasons. The popularity of the show convinced NBC to run an American version, but after two failed attempts to bring it to air, the show was shelved. Recent reports indicate that a third IT Crowd reboot attempt may be in the works, though. 

  • 'Charlie's Angels'

    7

    In 2011, ABC attempted to reboot the classic '70s and '80s show Charlie's Angels. Model Minka Kelly and Grey's Anatomy star Rachael Taylor were among the cast, and it all looked promising. But ABC pulled the plug after just four episodes and canceled the show for its low ratings.

  • 'Skins'

    8

    Another failed British-to-American reboot, the US version of Skins lasted only a single season compared to the original show's seven seasons. The series, which was about a group of teenagers, was plagued with problems due to the racy nature of the content. According to The Hollywood Reporter, sponsors dropped out after the show was called out by the Parents Television Council for its depictions of sex, drugs, and alcohol.

  • 'Arrested Development'

    9

    Fans loved the original three seasons of Arrested Development, so it seemed like an easy reboot option for Netflix. However, the streaming site's revival attempts were widely panned by critics. One Forbes writer even begged the question, "Arrested Development used to be the funniest show on television. What happened?" 

    Two seasons of the reboot aired, but it's unlikely to return for more

  • 'Bionic Woman'

    10
    Michelle Ryan in the 2007 Bionic Woman
    Carol Segal/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

    In 2007, NBC rebooted the '70s show The Bionic Woman. However, the show's future was cut short when the Writers Guild of America strikes interrupted production. In the end, only eight episodes aired.

  • 'The Muppets'

    11

    ABC tried to make The Muppets happen again in 2015 with a TV series focused on Miss Piggy's late night show and the drama behind the scenes. It was filmed in an Office-style mockumentary format, but it was a miss with audiences and was canceled after one season. An attempted reboot was planned for Disney+, but that was later also shelved.

  • 'Knight Rider'

    12
    Knight Rider 2008 cast
    NBC

    The 2008 Knight Rider flunked without David Hasselhoff in his original '80s role. The reboot shed viewers each week and was eventually canceled after one season. However, Hasselhoff has recently been hinting that another reboot could be in the works -- this time with him back in the driver's seat.

  • 'The X-Files'

    13
    Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in The X Files
    FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

    After over a decade off the air, The X-Files returned with its original cast for a 10th and 11th season. The most recent aired in 2018, and fans were underwhelmed on the whole and upset over the twist ending. When the series was officially canceled, Gillian Anderson, who played Dana Scully on the show, tweeted that the show had suffered a 77% drop in viewers. In an interview, she said she would not ever return to play the character. "I'm finished, and that's the end of that," Anderson said.

  • 'Melrose Place'

    14

    Melrose Place was a super popular '90s drama, but the 2009 reboot couldn't capture the same magic. Despite the fact that original actress Heather Locklear even returned for the reboot, the show didn't have the ratings to sustain a second season. It was cancelled after 18 episodes.

  • 'Charmed'

    15

    The Charmed reboot is on its second season on The CW, but it was a total miss for the original cast. Alyssa Milano later said that not being included in the remake "felt really disrespectful." Ratings for the reboot have been falling, so its season three status is unclear.

  • 'Heroes Reborn'

    16

    After the success of Heroes came Heroes Reborn. It was reportedly always meant to be a one-season series, but low ratings probably would have ensured a cancellation anyway. But the creator said in 2016 that he'd be open to revisiting the franchise again in the future.

  • 'Mockingbird Lane'

    17
    Charity Wakefield and Cheyenne Jackson in Mockingbird Lane
    NBC

    Mockingbird Lane was meant to be a reboot of the 1960s monster show The Munsters. Ultimately NBC declined to make a full season from what they saw in the pilot. But the first episode later aired as a Halloween special to moderate ratings.

  • 'Gracepoint'

    18

    With crime drama Broadchurch a successful show over in the UK, Fox decided to launch a spin-off series for American viewers. Gracepoint retained David Tennant as the lead character, but the series flopped with viewers and was ultimately canceled after one season. Meanwhile the original Broadchurch went on to have three critically acclaimed seasons.

  • 'Wonder Woman'

    19
    Adrianne Palicki in Wonder Woman
    NBC

    The 2011 Wonder Woman reboot of the '70s series was axed after its pilot episode was filmed. It reportedly had tone and structure issues, and NBC declined to take it to series. The pilot episode never aired, but Wonder Woman went on to have a theatrical resurgence in 2017 with Gal Gadot at the helm of the movie.

  • 'Ironside'

    20
    Blair Underwood and Kenneth Choi in Ironside
    NBC

    The Ironside reboot premiered in 2013 with Blair Underwood as the new take on cop Robert Ironside. But the show was canceled after just four episodes. While it was on the air, it received scathing reviews like this one, "It is aggressively bad. Avoid at all costs. Blair Underwood ... deserves better than the horrendous, uninteresting writing here."

    Yikes.

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